hazards in the workplace

Install Arc Flash Warning Labels on electrical equipment. So I am not sure how many people understand this one, butthis has been the requirement since 2004, and when we walk up to a piece of electrical equipment, it has to tell us what the voltage is, it also has to tell us what the arc flash boundary is. In other words, How close am I going to get to that equipment before I receive a third degree burn, which is an incurable burn? And also, it has to have the incident energy on there. So the incident energy is the amount of heat that would come at me, and I have to make sure that my clothing is rated higher than whatever that label says.

This is a relatively new, this is 2004. Some companies will have this on, some companies won't. The last two companies I was at, one had it, one didn't. And the one that did have it, didn't understand that it says "Electrical Equipment," because I was walking through their facility, and I saw 208, 120 volt panels with no Arc Flash Warning Label on it. And I looked at the person giving me the tour and I said, "What's the story here?" And he said, "Oh, we don't need it, that voltage is too low." I said, "No, there's a shock hazard there, and with long clearing times, you definitely could have an arc flash. So this is something that OSHA has been stressing in the last few years, and hopefully you can get these on there relatively quickly if you don't have them already. 

Now we do have a consulting service. We have a professional engineer on staff that does arc flash analysis. And one of the best things I guess about our analysis is, is our platform. So we can go ahead and put that on what we call our high schematic platform, and give your worker a tablet. And on that tablet, we're going to put what PTE has to wear, we're going to put the owner's manual on there. We're going to put how to replace a part, how to order a part. We'll put some pneumatics on there, some hydraulics, everything that you wanted to know about that piece of equipment, we can have on that platform. Give that notebook to your worker, and they've got it at their fingertips. 

So we're a little bit unique when we do an arc flash assessment. We try to get that information straight to the worker as quickly as possible within the other pertinent information they might need.

So machine guarding, our last topic that we have, about 2,700 citations in 2014. We want to make sure that the worker cannot make contact, so we've got to prevent the hands, arms, or any part of that worker's body from making contact with those dangerous moving parts. Be secure, so, workers can't easily remove or tamper with the safeguard, we've got to make sure that's solid. Protect from falling objects. So that safeguard, we have to make sure that nothing can fall into moving parts, also. And create no new hazards.

So we don't want to make sure that that safeguard is going to create a shear point, or a jagged edge, or an unfinished surface. And lastly, no interference. We do not want that to interfere with the task that the worker has to perform. So in that case if it did interfere with that poor worker, he is going try to find a way to bypass it, or disregard it, or whatever. So a machine guarding has to be simple, easy, and user friendly. 

Okay. As employers, we've got to make sure that we keep our employees safe, right off the bat, so that's the general duty clause. When we go to work each day, we've got to make sure we are in an environment that is not going to cause me to die or get seriously or physically hurt. If we do have hazards in the workplace, we definitely have to educate our employees. We have to document everything, keep up to date on all of OSHA compliance issues. OSHA does have some way to help us. They've got these outreach training programs. They got a Consultation Assistance program, where you could bring OSHA into your facility, and you requested them to come in, and they would do an inspection. If they did find something, they would give you a certain amount of time to correct that with no citation. 

You also want to remember that there are 25 states that are federally recognized to have their own OSHA program. So, every state has an OSHA program. And sometimes it might be easier to work with a state program, than it would be the federal government. Because the federal government, they're limited in their resources of course, and the state program might be a little more user-friendly for you. Maybe it's somebody that you know. Also, OSHA has what they call a Voluntary Protection Program. Where if you become part of the VPP program, they will come in and help with documentation.